May 10, 2013, 10:16 AM
The executive director of the National Environment Agency (NEA), Momodou B. Sarr, has spoken of the negative impacts of climate change on the country.
Mr Sarr, who was speaking on Saturday at the Senegambia Beach Hotel during the commemoration marking Paul Harris Fellowaship, says climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period.
Organised by Rotary Club of Fajara and Standard Chartered Bank Gambia, the event focused primarily on climate change.
“A change of climate is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere, which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods,” Mr Sarr said.
He stated that climate change has a server impacts on agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure and other development sectors.
On agriculture, Mr Sarr said climate change has caused 40% drop in groundnut yields caused mainly by drought or flooding.
It also causes negative effect on food intake of birds, thus reducing the productivity of poultry; and increased food insecurity, rural poverty and hardship, as well as disappearance of freshwater swamps. It causes intensive cropping and/or shorter fallow periods threatening soil fertility and the natural resource base; loss of estuarine mangroves and could lead to the collapse of some pelagic fish populations and food insecurity for a significant proportion of Gambians.
The NEA director says climate change undermines the livelihood and traditional way of life of fisherfolk in the country.
He said other indirect health risks of flooding include exposure to biologically-active pollutants that may be present in flood waters.
He also highlighted threats of coastal erosion to the Banjul Highway between Denton Bridge and Banjul.
In his presentation, Foday Sillah, secretary and president of Rotary Club of Fajara, said: “In the broadest sense of the word, environment is everything around us. Interestingly every individual is around another individual.
“Therefore, we are all part of someone’s environment. What we do or even fail to do affects our immediate neighbours. It is therefore, our social responsibility to conduct our lives in such a way that we don’t hurt others.
“More importantly, we have to remember that as we use resources of the environment, we must spare some for future generations; that is sustainable development.
“It’s in this spirit that concerned citizens of the world embark on environmental campaigns. The Rotary Club of Fajara is proud to be associated with this cause. We thank Standard Chartered Bank for partnering with us in this noble effort to save the environment. We would also like to thank the director of the National Environment Agency for encouraging us and supporting us all the way.”
Benjamin Roberts, President of Banjul Rotary Club, said Paul Harris went through a lot of challenges in life.“It is fitting that we reflect on his challenges and things he did,” he said